DfE pledges to measure school staff happiness and wellbeing
Ministers have pledged to measure happiness among school teachers and staff, alongside introducing a new wellbeing charter.
The commitment from the Department for Education will implement seven recommendations from an expert panel of school leaders, union representatives and education specialists who were tasked with boosting teacher wellbeing.
In a letter to members of the panel, schools minister Nick Gibb vowed to introduce measures to enhance wellbeing, although he added that employers would be asked to “sign up voluntarily”.
The advisory panel, headed by Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, made seven recommendations in mid-2019, all designed to enhance wellbeing. These included:
1. Developing a wellbeing charter for all staff in the education sector which details actions that schools can take to support mental health.
2. Improving access to online mental health resources.
3. Evaluate staff wellbeing at regular intervals and review the impact of measures taken.
4. Integrate wellbeing into the Department for Education’s workload policy test, which seeks to help teachers and other staff to reduce their workload.
5. Embed staff wellbeing into training.
6. Ensure staff wellbeing forms part of the department’s wider school communications strategy and links to elements of recruitment and retention strategy.
7. Clarify school responsibilities around wellbeing with support from Ofsted and the Health and Safety Executive.
Putting the focus on wellbeing
Mr Gibb said that the Department for Education will work alongside the advisory group to develop, trial and launch the charter in late 2020.
Also, work will be carried out to “explore options for integrating measurements of wellbeing” into existing research on teacher workloads.
Mr Farmer welcomed the announcement, adding that the commitments mark a “first step” towards “helping make sure we build a fairer and kinder working and learning environment for everyone”.
The Department will also fund a pilot with support from the Education Support Partnership, an education charity which focuses on boosting mental health and wellbeing across the sector.
Totalling £95,000, the pilot will see the delivery of online peer-support and telephone services so specialists can aid around 250 school leaders.
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